Officials preparing for white nationalist speech at U of F


UF officials originally denied Spencer's request September 12 due to the potential violence and risk on campus and in the community, following the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, but Spencer was planning to sue the university for violating his right to free speech.

Spencer was previously a featured speaker at the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August, where white supremacist protesters chanted, "You will not replace us", and the Nazi slogan, "blood and soil".

The 39-year-old Spencer advocates for a white "ethno-state" and has said previously that all races are not equal.

He's hoping for peace while Spencer speaks on campus.

Spencer's group, the National Policy Institute, is reportedly paying $10,564 to rent space for the event, but government-sponsored organizations, such as a public university, are not allowed to charge for security. However, it can not pass along the balance of these costs - enough to pay the annual tuitions of about 75 undergraduate students, according to university estimates - to him under a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court free-speech ruling.

Outside the speech venue, law enforcement sectioned off one area for pro-Spencer protesters and another area for anti-Spencer protesters, each about 50 yards apart.

The CEO of Hillel at the university, Rabbi Adam Grossman, declined a request for comment.

As a public university, Florida is prohibited from stopping the event based on the contents or views of the speech, Fuchs said. Though a date hasn't been set just yet for Spencer's visit, community members have expressed concern.

It remains unclear how many people are expected to attend or protest the speech.

The public safety worry follows deadly violence in Charlottesville back in August. A woman was killed when a suspected white supremacist rammed his auto into a crowed of counterprotesters.

In the statement from Pinto, he said that the university will work with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to implement a comprehensive plan for safety and security. It also places the Florida National Guard on standby.

Norman Goda, a professor of Holocaust studies, dismissed the university's argument that it had to host Spencer due to free speech. "I think Spencer is a very different animal". "So I'll lean on my other friends who will be out there".

"I don't feel safe being here, especially since I'm a woman of color", said UF student Nafeesah Attah.